You Can Model an Aston Martin in SOLIDWORKS
Learning new software can be a daunting task, especially when we are talking about engineering tools. CAD and its associated plugins and utilities can seem like an insurmountable hill to climb when you are getting started. For this reason, many engineers often find themselves relegated to a specific CAD or modeling program for most of their careers.
Jan-Willem Zuyderduyn operates LearnSOLIDWORKS.com where he says you can “become a SOLIDWORKS pro in days, not years.”
Rather than teach with boring machine components or slow-paced builds, he takes the more interesting route and provides a free tutorial on designing components for an Aston Martin ONE-77.
Zuyderduyn first came to the attention of the Engineering.com community when he modeled an entire Boeing 747 as an assembly of 677 solids. While the final product was not modeled down to all of the mechanical, electrical and otherwise functional components, it is a true-to-life aesthetic version of the plane, and a version that can be further improved in Keyshot and other renderers.
Now Romain Ginestou, a contributor at LearnSOLIDWORKS.com, has taken to teaching us how to model a high-end sportscar. This tutorial provides a SOLIDWORKS starting file to help you get the baseline of the design but then it jumps right into building some of the coolest elements of the car.
Focusing on splines while creating the model of the car, the tutorial walks through every step of basic vehicle elements—except they aren’t basic at all. It’s an Aston Martin.
Getting Started: Top Line of the ONE-77
Ginestou starts the tutorial with a projected curve and proceeds step by step through its creation. Using the Spline tool, we create the topline of the vehicle. Making use of the Smart Dimension tool, we set the distance between the endpoint of the spline and a plane.
The horizontal dimensions are defined in relation to the front plate and the vertical dimensions are in relation to the top plane.
Adding two construction lines from the endpoints of the curve up to the top plane will later allow for easier conversion from a skeletal drawing to a model. Construction lines can also really help with measuring elements of your sketch.
To get a feel for how the spline interacts, click the spline and move the handles. At this point, you can add weight to the handles by using the Smart Dimension tool. It’s also possible to set the angle of the handles by clicking on them and then clicking on a line or plane.
That’s the first sketch.
More In-Depth Design
The rest of the tutorial delves into a number of details, including using the Features Manager, modeling the fenders and dimensioning components in relation to the previous sketches.
One useful tool covered is the use of Trim Entities in the Sketch ribbon. When designing the fenders over the front driver’s side wheel, you’ll create a sketch of a circle. Using the Trim Entities tool, hold the mouse button down while moving around. When the cursor’s trajectory intersects with a sketch entity, it gets trimmed.
We use this tool to create the arc of the fender in true artsy Aston Martin fashion.
To finish off the arc of the fender, we create splines and make them tangent to the remainder of the circle. This is done by first creating the splines, selecting one curve and the circle while holding the Ctrl key. Then, in the pop-up choose Curvature relation.
The tutorial walks through using Splines, the Smart Dimension tool and the Trim tool to finish off the fender from all angles. The rear fender is similar but isn’t quite as symmetrical from the side, which leads to a number of learning opportunities with the Trim and Offset tools, as well as playing with interesting angles.
The trim along the bottom of the ONE-77 that connects the two fenders is complex. Ginestou makes note of using an array of reference pictures in order to create the proper angles and design elements.
As with the other elements of this design, it starts with creating a spline. Dimensioning the spline by fixing the weight and angle of each handle creates the starting shape of the connecting trim.
Switching to the top plane, another spline is used to create the curve. Then use Insert > Curve > Projected…, and select the last two sketches to create a projected curve.
A few more tweaks and splines, and we add the Boundary Surface by going through Insert > Surface > Boundary Surface…, and suddenly the vehicle starts to take some shape.
At the end of the tutorial, we’re left with some of the first sexy curves of an Aston Martin ONE-77: the top line and the lower fender areas.
The full tutorial is available at LearnSOLIDWORKS.com but you can see the whole process, including this tutorial and others, in the video below.
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